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Hello Charlie,

How are you in the world?

I was hoping you'd share your experience and philosophy on the matter of navigating absence and the practice of mediation.

A dear friend of mine passed suddenly just a few days ago. When I can, I lean into the structure of my "newbie" 10 minute practices - let my body do what it needs, allowing it stray and then return to stillness when I'm able.

Are there any specific cues or idea sets that you found helpful when dealing with an experience like this? I'm curious to learn an edge or aspect of something that might be helpful to integrate, all things considered.

The grief ninja has a wrath like no other. I'm attempting to navigate high seas and glassy water.

Thank you kindly,

Too sensitive for an acronym

Dear TSFAN,

I had a similar experience losing someone very close to me a few years ago and my meditation practice was what kept me from being disabled from grief. I was comforted by an idea that had come to me when I was at an observatory as a child. A very brilliant astronomer was speaking there and he explained that the stars and nebulae were so far away that we would never be able to travel to them even if we spent the rest of the age of the universe trying to reach them. I was initially very saddened and crestfallen by this realization. I had hoped one day to travel to the distant stars and I felt like a dream had been crushed. The astronomer then went on to explain one of the most brilliant things I've ever heard; that rather than try to reach the stars we had to learn to become aware of the aspects of the stars that are already present with us and from that understanding we could know them even more perfectly than if we were there.

When my friend was killed I thought about this same concept from the experience of his consciousness and mine. All of a sudden he seemed so distant from me. I couldn't find my friend no matter where I looked and he was unreachable. Then it occurred to me that in the same way that the brilliant astronomer was trying to teach himself to be aware of the aspects of the stars that were accessible here and now I also could do the same thing in my meditation practice. In your heart and memory there is an aspect of this person that represents their story or life history. This is beautiful and worth writing about but it is not the deeper aspect of the person. When you know someone deeply you recognize a core part of their identity that goes beyond these superficial aspects of the self. Your soul or being recognizes their soul or being. This aspect of recognition is still with you and it can be experienced when you are in your most settled state. In other words the part of the person that was ever-changing not truly representative of who they are at their core is gone but the deeper aspect of that person is still with you. You can find the part of that person that still exists in consciousness, the deeper aspect of your recognition and be with him or her.

In your time outside of meditation bring your thoughts to all the happy memories of your friend. Feel the joy of a life that you truly loved. These parts of their story are important but the true comfort comes when you find that deeper and quieter part of yourself that is beyond stories. In those quiet moments you can find the aspect of your friend who is with you right here and right now.

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